Friday, October 23, 2020

The Feast of St Anthony Mary Claret

“Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans?  By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!" (Luke 13: 2 - 3).

Saturday 24th October 2020, 29th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Anthony Mary Claret (1807 - 1870). Spanish missionary and Archbishop of Santiago, Cuba. He founded the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Claretians).

St Anthony Mary Claret was no stranger to the type of cruelty Pilate perpetrated on the Jews in the Gospel Reading for today's Liturgy. The Jews reported to Jesus how Pontius Pilate massacred the Jews inside the Temple. They expected great sympathy from Jesus but He said:

“Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans?  By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!  Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem?  By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!” (Luke 13: 2 - 5).

Jesus took the opportunity of this encounter with the Jews to teach a necessary lesson to them and to us: We must always be READY to die any moment.  Death can come suddenly without warning like a thief in the night.

How do we prepare ourselves for sudden and unexpected death?
#1 Constant prayer is the best and perhaps the only means of vigilance. St Alphonsus Liguori says that he who prays is saved. He who does not pray is lost.

Added to prayer as a means of vigilance is daily word of God and Sacrament of Reconciliation. Since one may not be able to partake of the Sacrament of Reconciliation daily, the daily examination of conscience is a necessity. 1 Corinthians 13: 4 - 7 is a short Examen one can use every day.

To learn more about the Examination of Conscience, click the link below:

http://seekfirstcommunity.com/2020/09/a-good-examination-of-conscience.html

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Feast of St John Capistrano.

"You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky; why do you not know how to interpret the present time?" (Luke 12: 56).

Friday 23rd October 2020, 29th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St John Capistrano.  (1386 -1456). Italian Franciscan Priest. His charismatic preaching brought about great revival in the countries of Eastern Europe. John was one of the few clerics in history who led an army into battle. He did so to defend Europe against the menacing advances of the Turks.

Jesus implies in His blunt remarks to the crowd in our key Scripture from the Gospel of today that they should know how to interpret the signs of the times. It is easy to tell if there will be rain or snow. Is it easy to know with any certainty what the pandemics mean for us?
Why is it happening?
When will it end?
Are we going to survive it?
How many people will perish?
What shall we do to help ourselves?

All these are grave questions that impact the signs of the times. If Jesus says we know the answers to these questions, I believe Jesus knows what He is talking about. Where do we begin the search? His word. The Bible. The word of God contains all the mysteries and answers that relate to our life and salvation.
Jesus says that it is the gracious and mysterious will of the Father to reveal these mysteries to the childlike.

Two Scriptures may give us a clue:
#1 The Lord's Prayer: (Matthew 6: 9 - 13).
#2 SeekFirst (Matthew 6: 33 - 34).

If you want to learn more about the Lord's Prayer and how to use to discern the signs of the times, click the link below:

http://seekfirstcommunity.com/2020/10/meditation-on-our-father.html?m=1

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Meditation on Our Father

Meditation on:  OUR FATHER / THE LORD’S PRAYER:

#1.  I cannot say OUR, if my religion has no room for others and their needs.

#2.  I cannot say FATHER, if I do not demonstrate this relationship in daily living.

#3. I cannot say WHO IS IN HEAVEN, if all my interests and pursuits are in earthly things.

#4.  I cannot say HALLOWED BE YOUR NAME, if I, who is called by His name, am not holy. 

#5.  I cannot say YOUR KINGDOM COME, if I am unwilling to give up my own sovereignty and accept the righteous reign of God. 

#6.  I cannot say YOUR WILL BE DONE, if I am unwilling or resentful of having it in my life. [Embrace Your gracious and mysterious will in everything, always and everywhere.] 

#7.  I cannot say ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN, unless I am truly ready to give myself to His service here and now.  [SeekFirst the Kingdom: Matthew 6: 33]. 

#8.  I cannot say GIVE US TODAY OUR DAILY BREAD, without expending an honest effort for it or by ignoring the genuine needs of those around me. 

#9.  I cannot say FORGIVE ME MY SINS AS I FORGIVE THOSE THAT SIN AGAINST ME, if I continue to harbor a grudge against anyone. 

#10.  I cannot say LEAD ME NOT INTO TEMPTATION, if I deliberately choose to remain in a situation where I am likely to be tempted. 

#11.  I cannot say DELIVER US FROM EVIL, if I am not prepared to fight in the spiritual realm with the weapon of prayer. 

#12.  I cannot say YOURS IS THE KINGDOM, if I do not give the King the disciplined obedience of a royal subject. 

#13. I cannot say YOURS IS THE POWER, if I fear what my friends and neighbors might say, think, or do. 

#14.  I cannot say FOREVER, if I am too anxious about each day's affairs. 

#15.  I cannot say AMEN, unless I honestly say "Cost what it may, this is my prayer!" 

(Adapted from the OUR FATHER from Father Paul, OFM.) 

COLLECT PRAYER:

O God, from whom all good things come, grant that we, who call on you in our need,

may at your prompting discern what is right, and by your guidance do it.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

🙏🙏🙏

A letter to Proba by St Augustine: On the Lord's Prayer 

We need to use words so that we may remind ourselves to consider carefully what we are asking, not so that we may think we can instruct the Lord or prevail on him.

    Thus, when we say: Hallowed be your name, we are reminding ourselves to desire that his name, which in fact is always holy, should also be considered holy among men. I mean that it should not be held in contempt. But this is a help for men, not for God.

    And as for our saying: Your kingdom come, it will surely come whether we will it or not. But we are stirring up our desires for the kingdom so that it can come to us and we can deserve to reign there.

    When we say: Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, we are asking him to make us obedient so that his will may be done in us as it is done in heaven by his angels.

    When we say: Give us this day our daily bread, in saying this day we mean “in this world.” Here we ask for a sufficiency by specifying the most important part of it; that is, we use the word “bread” to stand for everything. Or else we are asking for the sacrament of the faithful, which is necessary in this world, not to gain temporal happiness but to gain the happiness that is everlasting.

    When we say: Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, we are reminding ourselves of what we must ask and what we must do in order to be worthy in turn to receive.

    When we say: Lead us not into temptation, we are reminding ourselves to ask that his help may not depart from us; otherwise we could be seduced and consent to some temptation, or despair and yield to it.

    When we say: Deliver us from evil, we are reminding ourselves to reflect on the fact that we do not yet enjoy the state of blessedness in which we shall suffer no evil. This is the final petition contained in the Lord’s Prayer, and it has a wide application. In this petition the Christian can utter his cries of sorrow, in it he can shed his tears, and through it he can begin, continue and conclude his prayer, whatever the distress in which he finds himself. Yes, it was very appropriate that all these truths should be entrusted to us to remember in these very words.

    Whatever be the other words we may prefer to say (words which the one praying chooses so that his disposition may become clearer to himself or which he simply adopts so that his disposition may be intensified), we say nothing that is not contained in the Lord’s Prayer, provided of course we are praying in a correct and proper way. But if anyone says something which is incompatible with this prayer of the Gospel, he is praying in the flesh, even if he is not praying sinfully. And yet I do not know how this could be termed anything but sinful, since those who are born again through the Spirit ought to pray only in the Spirit.

🙏🙏🙏

A letter to Proba by St Augustine 2

Let us exercise our desire in prayer:

Why in our fear of not praying as we should, do we turn to so many things, to find what we should pray for? Why do we not say instead, in the words of the psalm: I have asked one thing from the Lord, this is what I will seek: to dwell in the Lord’s house all the days of my life, to see the graciousness of the Lord, and to visit his temple? There, the days do not come and go in succession, and the beginning of one day does not mean the end of another; all days are one, simultaneously and without end, and the life lived out in these days has itself no end.

    So that we might obtain this life of happiness, he who is true life itself taught us to pray, not in many words as though speaking longer could gain us a hearing. After all, we pray to one who, as the Lord himself tells us, knows what we need before we ask for it.

    Why he should ask us to pray, when he knows what we need before we ask him, may perplex us if we do not realise that our Lord and God does not want to know what we want (for he cannot fail to know it), but wants us rather to exercise our desire through our prayers, so that we may be able to receive what he is preparing to give us. His gift is very great indeed, but our capacity is too small and limited to receive it. That is why we are told: Enlarge your desires, do not bear the yoke with unbelievers.

    The deeper our faith, the stronger our hope, the greater our desire, the larger will be our capacity to receive that gift, which is very great indeed. No eye has seen it; it has no colour. No ear has heard it; it has no sound. It has not entered man’s heart; man’s heart must enter into it.

    In this faith, hope and love we pray always with unwearied desire. However, at set times and seasons we also pray to God in words, so that by these signs we may instruct ourselves and mark the progress we have made in our desire, and spur ourselves on to deepen it. The more fervent the desire, the more worthy will be its fruit. When the Apostle tells us: Pray without ceasing, he means this: Desire unceasingly that life of happiness which is nothing if not eternal, and ask it of him who alone is able to give it.

🙏🙏🙏

Responsory 1

℟. When you seek me, you shall find me – if you search with all your heart.* If you pray to me, I will listen to you.

℣. I know the plans I have in mind for you – plans for peace, not disaster, reserving a future full of hope for you.* If you pray to me, I will listen to you.

🙏🙏🙏

Responsory 2

℟. Ask and you will receive;* for everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

℣. The Lord is near to all who call upon him, who call upon him from their hearts;* for everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

The Feast of St John Paul II.

“I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!" (Luke 12: 49).

Thursday 22nd October 2020, 29th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of Pope St John Paul II (1920 - 2005). Polish. First non-Italian Pope in 455 years. Accomplished writer. Traveled all over the world to promote human brotherhood. His enduring legacy is the Catechism of the Catholic Church which he promulgated in 1992.

Some people think that the Gospel of today from Luke 12: 49 - 53 is a hyperbole, that is, great exaggeration. Do you think so? Then look at a Crucifix. Is Jesus nailed to the Cross wearing a crown of thorns a hyperbole?

Jesus proclaimed: "I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!" Jesus said in another passage that the purpose of His life is to proclaim the truth. If you belong to the truth, you will listen to His voice, He further said. If you do not belong to the truth, you will oppose Him.

Falsehood always opposes the truth. Cain murdered Abel. Esau hated his brother Jacob and would have killed him if he had the opportunity. The brothers of Joseph sold him into slavery. Judas, intimate companion of Jesus betrayed Him for 30 pieces of silver. This tug of War still plays out relentlessly in families everywhere. Do not be afraid of those who oppose you because you have responded to the call of Jesus. Be rather afraid of failing to acknowledge Jesus before men. Jesus wants us to love our families and friends but never make idols of them.

Do you remember how David slew Goliath? Now see what weapons God has given us for the inevitable struggle of the present time:
"The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (2 Corinthians 10: 4 - 5).

Our God is a consuming fire!

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Much will be required of the person entrusted with much.

"Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more." (Luke 12: 48).

Wednesday 21st October 2020, 29th Week in Ordinary Time.

In today's Gospel Reading, Jesus ended His teaching on the need to be prepared at all times for His sudden and unannounced coming with a curious ending:
"Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more."

Why did Jesus end His teaching thus? Perhaps because the irresponsible servants in the story may not even be aware of their gifts  and responsibilities. Are you aware of your gifts as a Christian? As a Catholic Christian with the fullness of faith? As Catholic Christians, we enjoy the fullness of the content of Revelation or the fullness of truth that God offers the world for the sake of our salvation. No other church or ecclesiastical community enjoy 100 % of the fullness of faith. Only the Catholic Church claims this from the beginning of her life.

If you do not know your gifts, tools and responsibilities, how can you be expected to be faithful to your assignment? Jesus will not accept ignorance as an excuse. If you do not know your master's will, you will still be "beaten lightly."

We have been given a lot. We have been given the Seven Sacraments, and the Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit. If you want to learn more about these topics, click the link below:

http://seekfirstcommunity.com/2020/10/gifts-fruits-of-holy-spirit-and.html?m=1

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Gifts, Fruits of The Holy Spirit and Sacraments

There are seven sacraments in the Church: Baptism, Confirmation or Chrismation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony."

Sacraments of Christian Initiation:

BAPTISM + CONFIRMATION  +   +EUCHARIST

Sacraments of Healing:

PENANCE + RECONCILIATION   + ANOINTING OF THE SICK

Sacraments of Service:

MATRIMONY +  HOLY ORDERS

🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏

What are the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit? (CCC #1831)

The 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit are: (CCC #1831)

1. Wisdom

2. Understanding

3. Counsel

4. Fortitude

5. Knowledge

6. Piety

7. Fear of the Lord

What are the 12 fruits of the Holy Spirit? (CCC #1832)

The 12 fruits of the Holy Spirit are:

1. Charity

2. Joy

3. Peace

4. Patience

5. Kindness

6. Goodness

7. Generosity

8. Gentleness

9. Faithfulness

10. Modesty

11. Self-control

12. Chastity

Seekfirstcommunity.com 

Monday, October 19, 2020

Feast of St Paul of the Cross.

“Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks." (Luke 12: 35 - 36).

Tuesday 20th October 2020, 29th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Paul of the Cross. (1694 - 1775). Italian. Priest, mystic, Founder of the Passionists. The charism of St Paul of the Cross is a profound understanding of the mystery of the Cross and translating this understanding into a plan of life.

In our key Scripture for today, Jesus urges His followers to be ready and prepared for His Second and sudden Coming. That Coming will most likely be delayed. The hint to this is many in the Gospels. The warning is clear. Do not be asleep and foolish. Do not think: The Lord has not returned for 2000 years. We have more than sufficient time to put our houses in order before Jesus returns.

How do we gird our loins and light our lamps to await our master’s return? The answer is Prayer. Prayer is the means of vigilance. Prayer is a vital necessity for this reason and others. In His Agony in the Garden, Jesus told His disciples "Watch and pray that you do not enter into temptation." Why? Because while their spirit is willing, experience shows that their flesh will succeed in dragging down their spirit. The remedy is: Prayer. Prayer. Prayer.

St Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop, Founder of the Redemptorists and Doctor of the Church has this to say on Prayer:
"Were you to ask what are the means of overcoming temptations, I would answer: The first means is prayer; the second is prayer; the third is prayer; and should you ask me a thousand times, I would repeat the same." (St Alphonsus Liguori).

Jesus declared blessed all those who are vigilant and wait for Him. Their reward will be huge and unbelievable.

"Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival. Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them." (Luke 12: 37).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, October 18, 2020

The Feast of St John de Brebeuf, Isaac Jogues and companions.

"Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!”  (Luke 12: 19).

Monday 19th October 2020, 29th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of the North American Martyrs: John de Brebeuf, Isaac Jogues and companions. All French and all of the Society of Jesus. 8 in all, 6 priests and 2 brothers. They labored day and night under harsh conditions with almost the certainty of martyrdom to bring Jesus Christ to the Native Americans.

Our key Scripture for today is the self congratulatory words of the foolish rich man whose land produced abundant harvest. He did not give thanks to God. He did not share his bounty with the poor.  He received a jolting message from God who is our Divine Providence:

"You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?" (Luke 12: 20).

From the beginning of salvation history, God has taught man to trust in Him for all his needs. Below are a few relevant Scriptures:

#1. Gather the manna you need for one day.  The next day, "I the Lord Your God will supply fresh manna for the new day." (Cf Exodus 16: 21 - 35).
Hoarding is idolatry. Deal with your insecurity with prayer.

#2. "Give us today the food we need."  (Matthew 6: 11).
God who is our Providence knows exactly what we need and when we need it.

#3.  "Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil."  (Matthew 6 : 34).
God says: My Name is: I AM. My Name is not I WAS. My Name is not I WILL BE.
Learn from God's Name that He is always Emmanuel, God with you always. He is in control everywhere, in everything and always. Do not be fooled by what you consider accidents or coincidences.

Jesus promises that if we seek first the kingdom of God and His holiness, God who knows what we need and when we need it will never fail to provide adequately for us.

Do not allow wealth to be a snare for you.  Rather make your wealth the trusting of God's promises. God wants His faithful promises to be our protection and armor in every situation. (Cf Psalm 94: 4). Not even a single one of them has failed.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, October 17, 2020

What belongs to Caesar and what belongs to God.

“So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”  (Matthew 22: 21).

Sunday 18th October 2020, 29th Week in Ordinary Time is Mission Sunday 2020.

The Church world-wide celebrates Mission Sunday today. The Gospel for today reminds us of the existence of two kingdoms living side by side. There is the Kingdom of God whose seed on earth is the Church. There is also the kingdom of Caesar with its goals and methods often contrary to the mission of the Church.

The Pharisees ask Jesus whether they should pay tax to the government or not. Where should our loyalty be? Jesus used the trick question to teach us a vital lesson. Yes we owe the government lawful taxes. But as for the kingdom of God, we must seek it first and its righteousness. If we do this, everything will fall into place. The taxes to Caesar, our daily bread and all we need will be guaranteed, Jesus promises. (Cf Matthew 6: 33).

Mission Sunday celebrates the truth that the Church exists to evangelize. The Church is missionary in its deepest nature. How missionary are you in your thoughts and prayers? St Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower never stepped out of her convent, yet she is the patron saint of missionaries. How? She carried the mission fields and work in her thoughts and prayers. She taught that prayers could be a vital contribution to the mission. We all can pray for the missions. We all can make some financial contributions from time to time towards mission work.

Be missionary.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, October 16, 2020

The Feast of St Ignatius of Antioch, Father of the Church.

"I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God.  But whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God." (Luke 12: 8 - 9).

Saturday 17th October 2020, 28th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of a giant of our faith: St Ignatius of Antioch. (+ 107). Syrian. Bishop and Martyr. Ordained Bishop by St Peter himself. Father of the Church. Ground to pieces by wild beasts under the persecution of Emperor Trajan.

Why is St Ignatius of Antioch so revered by the Church? To be ordained Bishop by the Apostle Peter is a big deal. But there are other reasons. During his journey from Antioch to Rome under heavy armed guards, Ignatius composed 7 extraordinary letters. These letters are the earliest authoritative teaching on the Eucharist, the hierarchy of the Church, etc. I was shocked to watch a prominent Evangelical pastor, Dr X last week declare on Christian television that it is God's will for the fragmentation of the Church and the existence of over 60,000 churches. Does he know about St Ignatius of Antioch and these 7 letters?

Ignatius was grounded by the iron teeth of wild beasts because He acknowledged Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior before Emperor Trajan. Jesus made another big promise in today's Gospel Reading of which I can bear witness in my experience:

"When they take you before synagogues and before rulers and authorities, do not worry about how or what your defense will be or about what you are to say.  For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say.” (Luke 12: 11 - 12).
My personal favorite title for the Holy Spirit because of experience of the fulfillment of this promise is: The Voice that Speaks in Court. The Holy Spirit has enabled me speak with wisdom and courage when I needed it most.

Below is St Ignatius of Antioch in his own words:

“Let me be food for the wild beasts for they are my way to God. I am God’s wheat and shall be ground by their teeth so that I may become Christ’s pure bread. Pray to Christ for me that the animals will be the means of making me a sacrificial victim for God.” (St Ignatius of Antioch).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, October 15, 2020

The Feast of St Margaret Mary Alacoque, the Visionary of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

"Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins? Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God.  Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows." (Luke 12: 6 - 7).

Friday 16th October 2020, 28th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647 - 1690). St Margaret is the French Visitation Nun that brought the world the private revelations of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Today is also the feast of St Hedwig (1173 - 1243). Wife of the Duke of Poland and mother of 7 children. After the death of her husband, Hedwig took the habit of a Nun and lived the rest of her life in a Cistercian monastery that she and her late husband had founded.

Our key Scripture for today has very important consoling message. If you are prone to worry, make many copies of it and place them in your bedroom, restroom, kitchen, etc. Glance at the healing message from time to time during the day and night. In 60 days, you will begin to experience peace, joy and contentment and a lessening of anxieties, fears and worries. Such is the power of the word of God applied daily with faith and purpose.

The saints we celebrate today overcame the handicap of fear, worry and doubt by trusting completely the promises of Jesus like the one we have today from Luke 12: 6 - 7.

Below is a quote from St Margaret Mary Alacoque. She shares her secret of peace, joy, contentment and tranquility.

"Rely entirely on God with perfect confidence in his goodness, which never forsakes those who, distrusting themselves, hope in him. Do not be afraid to abandon yourself unreservedly to his loving Providence, for a child cannot perish in the arms of a Father who is omnipotent." (St Margaret Mary Alacoque).

For the Prayer of Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the 12 Promises of Jesus to those who show devotion to His Sacred Heart which Jesus authorized Margaret Mary to make public, click the link below:

http://seekfirstcommunity.com/2020/08/12-promises-of-sacred-heart-of-jesus.html?m=1

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

The Feast of St Teresa of Avila

"Woe to you, scholars of the law! You have taken away the key of knowledge. You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter.” (Luke 11: 52).

Thursday 15th October 2020, 28th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of a great woman: St Teresa of Jesus, popularly known as St Teresa of Avila. (1515 - 1582). Spanish Carmelite and great Reformer. She was a mystic and great spiritual writer. She is one of the four women to be proclaimed Doctor of the Church.

What do you make of our key Scripture for today with regard to St Teresa whose feast we celebrate today? Coincidence or prophetic? There are so many doctors or scholars of the law in the Church but there are only 35 Doctors of the Church. What is the difference? Look at the life and work of St Teresa of Avila and compare it to the academic doctors of theology in the Church you know.

The teaching of Teresa aims at bringing you to Jesus. She wants you to know Jesus more, so that you can love Him and serve Him more. Teresa and other Doctors of the Church are deeply interested in your eternal destiny. The academic doctors of theology are often speculative and not explicit of their intentions to evangelize. This is why the scholars of the law did not take the criticism of Jesus lightly:
"When he [Jesus] left [after criticizing them], the scribes and Pharisees began to act with hostility toward him and to interrogate him about many things, for they were plotting to catch him at something he might say." (Luke 11: 53 - 54].

Here is one of the great maxims of St Teresa of Avila. I read it every morning so that the truth will penetrate my soul:

"Let nothing trouble you,
let nothing frighten you.
All things are passing;
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
He who possesses God lacks nothing: God alone suffices."  (St Teresa of Avila).

St Teresa of Avila pray for us.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.co

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

When you live in the Spirit, you will enjoy continuous inspiration and power.

"If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit." (Galatians 5: 25 NABRE).

Wednesday 14th October 2020, 28th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Callistus (+222).Pope and Martyr. How does history remember Pope St Callistus? From slave to pope to martyr. Pope St Callistus reminds us of our current Pontiff, Pope Francis. Callistus was vehemently opposed by Bishops, clergy and theologians because of his uncompromising stand that the Church must show mercy and forgive even the worst of sinners. This struggle in the Church with the Rigorist faction outlived St Callistus who was martyred by Emperor Alexander Severus.

We continue with the Letter to the Galatians in our key Scripture for today from the first Reading. Look at four different translations of the verse below:

#1 "If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit." (Galatians 5: 25 NABRE).

#2 "Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." (NIV).

#3 "Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives." (NLT)

#4 "If we [claim to] live by the [Holy] Spirit, we must also walk by the Spirit [with personal integrity, godly character, and moral courage—our conduct empowered by the Holy Spirit]." (AMP).

#1, the New American Revised Version (the authorized translation for the Liturgy) renders our key Scripture thus: "If we live in the Spirit..."

#2 to #4 translations assume that you, I mean "You" reading this knows the Spirit and is reminding you what should be taken for granted. Are you aware that two different spirits are continually at war in you? The one you feed more wins. How do you feed the good spirit so that you win more the battles of life?
#1 Daily Prayer: Set time, set place and set intention.
#2 Daily word of God. Set reading plan. The daily Mass Readings from the Roman Missal are great as a reading plan. You read the Scripture with the Church. Same daily Scripture everywhere on earth.
#3 Daily examination of conscience. Critical for checking whether the spirit you are feeding is growing or not.

When you follow the above plan, the life of grace will begin to manifest in you. It will be seen by anyone who knows you. People will observe: "You have changed. You are more peaceful, joyful and calm. What happened to you?

If you want to learn more about the Holy Spirit power, the Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit, the Sacrament of Confirmation, click the link below:

http://seekfirstcommunity.com/2020/10/the-abc-of-holy-spirit.html?m=1

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

The ABC of the Holy Spirit.

ABC of the Holy Spirit:

Prayer, Gifts and Fruits. The Sacrament of Confirmation. 

Powerful Holy Spirit Prayer. Pray at the beginning of Prayer or tasks. 

"Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful and kindle in us the fire of Your love. 

Send forth Your Spirit and we shall be recreated 

--And You will renew the face of the earth. 

Let us pray: 

O God, Who did instruct the hearts of Your faithful people by the Light of Your Holy Spirit, grant that by the same Spirit we may be truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolation. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit:

1. Wisdom

 2.Understanding 

3. Counsel 

4. Fortitude 

5. Knowledge 

6. Piety

7. Fear of the Lord  

How does one come by these gifts?

Desire and Prayer. 

Ask, Seek, Knock. 

Fruits of the Holy Spirit : 

1. Charity

 2. Joy 

3. Peace 

4. Patience 

5. Kindness 

6. Goodness 

7. Generosity 

8. Gentleness 

9. Faithfulness 

10. Modesty 

11. Self-control 

12. Chastity   

 "I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands."  (2 Timothy 1: 6).

Stir into flame the gift of God. 

How? Prayer expands your desire. Study: good books on the Holy Spirit. 

"For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control."  (2 Timothy 1: 7).

Holy Spirit is:

**Spirit of power. 

**Spirit of love. 

**Spirit of self control. 

"But you will receive the power of the Holy Spirit which will come upon you, and then you will be my witnesses not only in Jerusalem but throughout Judaea and Samaria, and indeed to earth’s remotest end.." (Acts 1:8) 

▪ The Holy Spirit is the power behind all Christian witnessing 

▪ The Holy Spirit is the source and power of evangelization. 

* Power is the predominant attribute of the Holy Spirit.

Character is Destiny.

 Through His gifts and fruits, the Holy Spirit is transforming our character bit by bit (incrementally). As He transforms our character, He is transforming our Destiny. 

Can the Holy Spirit make a difference in our lives?

You will see, dance for joy and give testimony. 

The Sacrament of Confirmation:

 Symbols, Effects, Minister.

SYMBOLS:

 Anointing with oil, laying of hands. 

EFFECTS: 

The principal effect of the sacrament of Confirmation is: “the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit as once granted to the apostles on the day of Pentecost. 

From this fact, Confirmation brings an increase and deepening of baptismal grace:

- it roots us more deeply in the divine filiation which makes us cry, “Abba! Father!”

- it unites us more firmly to Christ;

- it increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us;

- it renders our bond with the Church more perfect;

- it gives us a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ, to confess the name of Christ boldly, and never to be ashamed of the Cross.”

MINISTER:

 The original and ordinary minister of Confirmation is the bishop. When warranted by circumstances, the bishop may give to priests the faculty to administer the Sacrament. 

PRAYER on Pentecost Sunday:

On this day of Pentecost, the Church is filled with joy. Strengthened with measureless hope, we pray to Christ, who is calling his Church together in the Holy Spirit.

– Lord, renew the face of the earth.

Lord Jesus, raised on the cross, you poured out the water of rebirth for the life of the world.

    Quicken the life of all men with the gift of the Spirit.

– Lord, renew the face of the earth.

Raised up to God’s right hand, you bestowed on the apostles the Father’s Gift;

    your Church now waits for the same Gift, the same hope.

– Lord, renew the face of the earth.

You breathed your Spirit upon the apostles, and gave them the power of forgiveness:

    set all men free today from the prison of sin.

– Lord, renew the face of the earth.

You promised to send us the Spirit of truth, that we might become your heralds throughout the world.

    Through his presence in the Church may we bear faithful witness to you.

– Lord, renew the face of the earth.

(Liturgy of the Hours (Lauds) Pentecost Day). 

Seekfirstcommunity.com 

Monday, October 12, 2020

Where is the Holy Spirit in your life?

"For through the Spirit, by faith, we await the hope of righteousness." (Galatians 5: 5).

Tuesday 13th October 2020, 28th Week in Ordinary Time.

In the Letter to the Galatians, we have been exploring: The Holy Spirit, faith and grace. These are principles that make living the Christian life easy and delightful.

Where is the Holy Spirit in your life? In Baptism we received Him. But have you activated Him? You activate Him by faith which means by trusting in the promise of Christ. You cannot receive or activate the Holy Spirit by work. Only by faith.

The Holy Spirit in us is transforming us degree by degree. He causes us to wait in patience for the work of transformation to be advanced in us until we become the holy children of God. This is salvation. The saints have reached this stage. They live by faith and not by sight or feeling. And certainly not dependent on their works.

"The word of God is something alive and active: it can judge secret emotions and thoughts." (Hebrews 4: 12)

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, October 11, 2020

He set me free from my addictions.

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." (Galatians 5: 1).

Monday 12th October 2020, 28th Week in Ordinary Time.

Rejoice brothers and sisters, we are free. The Son has truly made us free. Free from what?
#1 Free from compulsive habits of sin: pornography, lying, cheating, anger.
#2 Free from crippling fears, worries and doubts.
#3 Free from the spirit of Unbelief that denies us all the benefits of our filial adoption as the children of the Father and brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ.

Here is how the Son freed me from almost two decades of tobacco addiction. It was the eve of Ash Wednesday. A fine Tuesday afternoon. I was amongst friends and suddenly I said: "Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. I have done nothing in Lent for many years. I will not smoke tomorrow." Laughter broke out among my friends. "Impossible! Impossible!" They intoned. I did not smoke on Ash Wednesday. And Thursday, Friday, Saturday... In exactly 7 days, the desire for tobacco was removed from me.

How did it happen? It was by His merciful love that Christ set me free. At the time, I did not have even filthy works or otherwise I could point to. Jesus did it so that all the honor and glory should come to Him. Also that I could bear witness to His merciful love as I am doing today. I may also add that a couple of years later, Jesus again intervened in my life and set me free completely from alcoholism.

What is your addiction? Whatever it is, the Son wants to set you free.

"If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand? But with you is found forgiveness,
O God of Israel." (Psalm 129: 3 - 4).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, October 10, 2020

The invited guests refused to come.

"On this mountain the Lord of hosts will provide for all peoples
A feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines." (Isaiah 25: 6).

Sunday 11th October 2020, 28th Week in Ordinary Time.

Consider this scenario: the king or president planned a state banquet to celebrate the wedding of his son. You are one of the lucky to receive an invitation. Let Jesus continue with this incredible story.

“The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come." (Matthew 22: 2 - 3).

In this world, the Kingdom of God is the Church.  (Cf CCC 567).

You were invited to the great banquet where the king:
"Spread the table before you
in the sight of your foes; He anoints your head with oil; your cup overflows." (Cf Psalm 23: 5).

The King in the Parable is God the Father. The Son is Jesus Christ. "This mountain", in Isaiah 25 is the Church. You are one of the invited guests of honor. Here are some of the reactions of your fellow invited guests of honor: "Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business." To add insult to injury, "The rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them, and killed them." (Matthew 22: 6).

In America and Europe today, less than 25% of Catholics attend Sunday Mass and receive the Eucharist. How do you defend this? God is the cause, the principal cause of the prosperity of Europe and America. Does the King deserve to be treated with such scorn and indifference?

May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our hearts, so that we may know what is the privilege and love that belongs to our invitation to the Eucharist.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, October 09, 2020

You are happy when you hear the word of God and observe it.

"Happy are those who hear the word of God and keep it." (Luke 11: 28).

Saturday 10th October 2020, 27th Week in Ordinary Time.

A woman shouted out to Jesus where He was teaching:
"Happy the womb that bore you and the breasts you sucked!" Jesus responded by laying down a new rule in the Kingdom of God:
"Still happier those who hear the word of God and keep it!"

In the first Reading from Galatians, we read:  "Through faith you are all children of God in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3: 26). What does this mean? In the new dispensation, everything depends on faith. It is faith all the way.  How close are you to Jesus? It depends on your faith.

Below are a few things faith can do to bless our life everyday:
#1 Faith enlarges our hearts to receive the blessings of God.
#2 Faith enables us to rise above our fears.
#3 When you have faith, you see God's hand everywhere, always and at all times.
#4 Through faith, we enjoy the Sacrament of the Present Moment. You know  that Jesus is always in you, the hope of glory. Do you really believe this? When you truly believe this, you see Jesus close to you enabling you to handle any problem.

"Happy are those who hear the word of God and keep it." Those who hear the word of God and observe it are those who hear the word and believe the word they hear. No one observes the word he disbelieves.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com


Thursday, October 08, 2020

The Feast of St Denis and St John Leonardi.

"Realize then that it is those who have faith who are children of Abraham." (Galatians 3: 7).

Friday 9th October 2020, 27th Week in Ordinary is the feast of St Denis, First Bishop of Paris, martyr and companions, martyr. (3rd century). We honor too St John Leonardi (1541 - 1609). Italian priest. John qualified first as a pharmacist before he decided to become a priest. He founded the Order of Clerics Regular to serve sick people and those in prison.

Yesterday, we saw through Galatians 3 that we received the Holy Spirit through faith and not through works. St Paul continues teaching us the beautiful subject of Faith today. We are children of Abraham because we share in that powerful faith that made Abraham great. "Consequently, those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham who had faith." (Galatians 3: 9).

How does faith impact our life from day to day?

#1 Faith is belief that Jesus will keep His promises come what may.
# 2 Jesus says: Fear is useless. What you need is faith.
#3 Lack of faith robs us of God's wonderful plans for us.

You may be at the threshold of your Promised Land. You need faith to push through the door.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

How to Recite the Divine Mercy Rosary

How to Recite the Chaplet:
(http://www.divinemercy.org)

The Chaplet of Mercy is recited using ordinary Rosary beads of five decades. The Chaplet is preceded by two opening prayers from the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska and followed by a closing prayer.

1. Make the Sign of the Cross
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

2. Optional Opening Prayers
St. Faustina’s Prayer for Sinners
O Jesus, eternal Truth, our Life, I call upon You and I beg Your mercy for poor sinners. O sweetest Heart of my Lord, full of pity and unfathomable mercy, I plead with You for poor sinners. O Most Sacred Heart, Fount of Mercy from which gush forth rays of inconceivable graces upon the entire human race, I beg of You light for poor sinners. O Jesus, be mindful of Your own bitter Passion and do not permit the loss of souls redeemed at so dear a price of Your most precious Blood. O Jesus, when I consider the great price of Your Blood, I rejoice at its immensity, for one drop alone would have been enough for the salvation of all sinners. Although sin is an abyss of wickedness and ingratitude, the price paid for us can never be equalled. Therefore, let every soul trust in the Passion of the Lord, and place its hope in His mercy. God will not deny His mercy to anyone. Heaven and earth may change, but God's mercy will never be exhausted. Oh, what immense joy burns in my heart when I contemplate Your incomprehensible goodness, O Jesus! I desire to bring all sinners to Your feet that they may glorify Your mercy throughout endless ages (Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 72).

You expired, Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls, and the ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world. O Fount of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty Yourself out upon us.

(Repeat three times)
O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of mercy for us, I trust in You!

3. Our Father
Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, Amen.

4. Hail Mary
Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen.

5. The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; He descended into hell; on the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from there He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

6. The Eternal Father
Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.

7. On the 10 Small Beads of Each Decade
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

8. Repeat for the remaining decades
Saying the "Eternal Father" (6) on the "Our Father" bead and then 10 "For the sake of His sorrowful Passion" (7) on the following "Hail Mary" beads.

9. Conclude with Holy God (Repeat three times)
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

10. Optional Closing Prayers
Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion — inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.

O Greatly Merciful God, Infinite Goodness, today all mankind calls out from the abyss of its misery to Your mercy — to Your compassion, O God; and it is with its mighty voice of misery that it cries out. Gracious God, do not reject the prayer of this earth's exiles! O Lord, Goodness beyond our understanding, Who are acquainted with our misery through and through, and know that by our own power we cannot ascend to You, we implore You: anticipate us with Your grace and keep on increasing Your mercy in us, that we may faithfully do Your holy will all through our life and at death's hour. Let the omnipotence of Your mercy shield us from the darts of our salvation’s enemies, that we may with confidence, as Your children, await Your [Son’s] final coming — that day known to You alone. And we expect to obtain everything promised us by Jesus in spite of all our wretchedness. For Jesus is our Hope: through His merciful Heart, as through an open gate, we pass through to heaven (Diary, 1570).
(http://www.divinemercy.org)

Seekfirstcommunity.com 

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

What do you depend on? Word of God or your filthy works?

"Did you receive the Spirit from works of the law, or from faith in what you heard?" (Galatians 3: 2).

Thursday 8th October 2020, 27th Week in Ordinary Time.

Our key Scripture for today is a blunt Question: "Did you receive the Spirit from works of the law, or from faith in what you heard?"
The answer is of course we received the Spirit by faith in the message of Jesus Christ. For faith comes when we hear the word of God.

The word of God comes to us when we read the Sacred Scriptures, when we hear the Scripture preached or shared. I hear the message of Jesus Christ a lot when I read spiritual books. I read the book of St Louis Marie de Montfort, THE SECRET OF THE HOLY ROSARY and I fell in love with the Rosary. I call such books anointed. They produce the same effect in your mind that good preaching produces.

We are saved by grace through faith. Every single day, Jesus blesses us with numerous favors. We receive these favors through His merciful love. The favors we receive from God do not depend on our works, for example: Prayers, studying the Scripture, attending Church services, making offerings to the Church,  giving alms to the poor, sheltering the homeless, etc. All these are WORKS. God considers all of them filthy works. Let me give an example: Sometimes when I am in prayer, thoughts of the next meal flash in and out of my mind. I hate it but can't always stop it. So this prayer is not pure enough to offer God. But God does not reject the prayer.

To grow in faith, do the following:
#1 Believe the word of God you read or hear.
#2 Obey or practice what you believe.
#3 Teach or share what you practice.
#4 Trust your experiences of God's merciful works in your life.

Ask, seek, knock and receive for it is Your Father's will to give you the Kingdom.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

The Feast of the Holy Rosary.

"Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb." (Luke 1: 28, 42. Entrance Antiphon).

Wednesday 7th October 2020, 27th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.

Today, the Church all over the world celebrates the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. We know the Blessed Virgin Mary is the Lady under many titles: Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, etc. One Lady, many titles. Our Lady of the Rosary celebrates Mary as a powerful intercessor using the instrument of the Rosary. Here is what the Church says about the Rosary:

"The Rosary is very pleasing to our Mother in heaven; she herself has recommended it. There are two elements of the Holy Rosary: meditation on its mysteries and vocal prayer. The Rosary surely reaches the motherly heart of Mary and moves her to obtain abundant graces for us." (Roman Missal).

Two recent popes, Pope St Paul VI and Pope St John Paul II have highly recommended the Rosary. Most saints since the 1500s have said the Rosary without fail.

"Your Rosary is like a ladder that you climb step by step, drawing you closer to our Lady, which means finding Christ. It is a devotion which leads us to Christ through Mary." (Pope St Paul VI, Marialis Cultus).

THE SECRET OF THE HOLY ROSARY by St Louis Marie de Montfort helped to bring me back to the Church over 25 years ago. Since then I have said the Rosary every single day. Powerful pray. If you want to read the 15 Promises of Mary to those who say the Holy Rosary, click the link below:

http://seekfirstcommunity.com/2020/08/the-15-promises-of-mary-to-those-who.html?m=1

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, October 05, 2020

The One Thing that is necessary.

 “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” (Luke 10: 41 - 42).

Tuesday 6th October 2020, 27th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Bruno (1030 - 1101). Priest. German. Founder of the Carthusian Order. Blessed Marie-Rose Durocher (1811 - 1849). Virgin. Canadian. Founder of the Sisters of the Holy Name of Jesus and Mary.

Jesus said to Martha: "You are anxious and worried about many things."  Martha was distracted by what to eat and drink and making sure that everything looks fine. Jesus told her. Only one thing is necessary.

In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus warns that the people who allow themselves to be distracted by the physical and material affairs of this world will miss the one thing that is necessary.
"The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful." (Matthew 13: 22).

Mary turned her eyes upon Jesus and learned the one thing that is necessary.
St Bruno whose feast we celebrate today chose to serve God in the solitude of the monastery.
Blessed Marie-Rose Durocher helped establish the first Canadian parish solidarity for young women. She had a very busy life like Martha.

What is the one thing that is necessary? The only thing that is necessary is the Kingdom of God and His holiness. If you seek this above all things, God promises to provide ALL your needs.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, October 04, 2020

The Feast of the Secretary of Mercy, St Maria Faustina.

“Who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10: 29).

Monday 5th October 2020, 27th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of the Secretary of Mercy, St Maria Faustina Kowalski (1905 - 1938). Polish. Nun of the Blessed Sacrament.

Jesus Christ our Merciful Savior communicated with St Maria Faustina His desire to have the Divine Mercy Devotion established. Maria was not well educated but she worked very hard to accomplish this divine purpose. Before she died in 1938, she left the world a book which has since become a classic: "Diary of St Maria Faustina Kowalski." This book recounts the conversations of the mystic Maria Faustina  with Jesus and established the Divine Mercy Devotion.

Our key Scripture for today is from the Parable of the Good Samaritan, (Luke 10: 25 - 37). You may call this a story of mercy.
What is mercy? From the Parable, we may say that mercy is when someone shows you pity in a moment of great need.

One day after shopping for groceries at Walmart, I was $5 short at the checkout counter. As I started to remove some groceries to make the right amount, the man behind me stepped forward and told the cashier he would pay the $5. I thanked him profusely in spite of my embarrassment. The man showed me mercy which I appreciated immensely.
One Saturday morning, I was again in the checkout counter in the same Walmart store. The man in front of me made a small purchase about $5. He did not have enough cash on him. I stepped forward and told the cashier to add it to my bill. The man refused to accept the offer. I pleaded with him to accept the little help and told him how someone helped me when I was in a similar situation some weeks ago.  I was sad to see him walk away without his grocery. He refused to give me the opportunity to show mercy and be a good neighbor.

Be a good neighbor.
Allow someone to be a good neighbor to you. Jesus is always a good neighbor.

Jesus gave us the Divine Mercy Devotion through St Maria Faustina. This devotion is summarized through the ABC of Mercy:

A = Ask for mercy.
B = Be Merciful.
C = Completely trust Jesus for mercy.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, October 03, 2020

The Vineyard of the Lord is the Church.


"Therefore, I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit." (Matthew 21: 43).

Sunday 4th October 2020, 27th Week in Ordinary Time.

The Church is the seed of the kingdom of God in this world. The Prophet Isaiah foresaw this when he said: "The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel." Why then is the Vineyard of the Lord planted with such care and equipped with all the wherewithal to produce great fruits be unproductive and utter disappointment? Because the shepherds/managers who were hired to manage the business looked after themselves and not the sheep or the vineyard? They feast on the fattened sheep and drank from the choicest grapes but neglected the sheep and the vineyard.

The day of reckoning and accountability came suddenly without warning and the tenants were not ready.

How can we escape such fate? By commitment to work and grow the Lord's Vineyard. The Kingdom of God and the holiness of life that goes with it must be the first priority in our lives  We must believe firmly that the Lord of the Vineyard will compensate us generously.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, October 02, 2020

The demons are subject to us in the name of Jesus.

"The seventy-two returned rejoicing, and said, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.” (Luke 10: 17).

Saturday 3rd October 2020, 26th Week in Ordinary Time. First Saturday in October, the month of Mary.

The jubilant disciples declared to Jesus: "The demons are subject to us because of your name." This is what impressed most the student missionaries. Do you believe in demons? Today, belief in demonic spirits seems to have gone out of fashion. Note that the heart of our faith are truths revealed by Sacred Scripture, embedded in Sacred Tradition and confirmed by the authoritative teaching of Magisterium. So this truth about demonic spirits cannot be in fashion or out of fashion.

Here is what the Holy Church teaches about demons:
"Satan or the devil and the other demons are fallen angels who have freely refused to serve God and his plan. Their choice against God is definitive. They try to associate man in their revolt against God." (CCC 414).

Rebellion, disobedience are characteristics of the evil one and its minions. Another universal character trait of the devil is falsehood, lies and distractions. The devil is is incapable of telling the truth.

Every Christian by virtue of his Baptism is anointed and empowered to subjugate  demons in the Name of Jesus. How do we come to this power? Faith. Faith comes by hearing, hearing the word of Christ. The more you hear the word, the more it makes an impression on your mind until one day, it reaches the critical mass and you find that you have come to believe what you have been hearing. At this point, you are ready to act.

Act in trust and confidence and you will rejoice that the demons are subject to you in the Name of Jesus.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, October 01, 2020

Feast of the Guardian Angels.

 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father." (Matthew 18: 10).

Friday 2nd October 2020, 26th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of the Guardian Angels.

Our Father God in His loving Providence has provided each of His children a Guardian Angel. Are you aware of this stupendous fact? Fortunately for us, whether we are aware of our Guardian Angel that accompanies us on the journey of life or not, the Angel still performs all its duties lovingly towards us. Our Guardian Angels report to God not us. Here is what the Church teaches about our Guardian Angel:

"Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life." Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God." (CCC 336).

Your Guardian Angel is a friend who protects you in danger and can direct your steps when you are lost. It shepherds you away from moral dangers from situations that can imperil your soul. When you have a warm and personal relationship with your Guardian Angel, you enjoy more privileges. Saints recommend praying to your Guardian Angel when you wake up in the morning and when you are ready to go to bed at night.

For a Guardian Angel Prayer, click the link below:

http://seekfirstcommunity.com/2020/10/guardian-angel-prayer.html?m=1

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Guardian Angel Prayer

Angel of God, 
my guardian and my friend, 
To whom I have been entrusted by God's merciful love. 
Enlighten, guide, direct and protect me this day/night. 
Amen.

SeekFirstcommunity.com 

First Friday in October 2020. Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

October 2, 2020 - First Friday in October.

The 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus:  Jesus promised 12 special favors to all those who will honor His Sacred Heart especially on the First Friday of every month.  In the 10th month of the year 2020, we look at Promise #10.

#10.  "I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts."

Do not think: "I am not excited by this promise.  I am not a priest."  We are all priests by virtue of our Baptism. Jesus Christ chose and ordained a tiny percentage of men to celebrate the Sacraments.  The first mission of the Church is evangelization.  You are an evangelist. Moreover, the first 3 Spiritual Works of Mercy instruct us:
#1. Instruct the ignorant.
#2. Counsel the doubtful.
#3. Admonish sinners.

Jesus promises to give you power to touch the most hardened of sinners.  These sinners could be in the family. They could be friends or neighbors.  Will you refuse such a gift?

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday by attending Holy Mass if you can or reciting the Sacred Heart Prayer and meditating on the 12 Promises below.

For the 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Sacred Heart Prayer, click the link below:

http://seekfirstcommunity.com/2020/08/12-promises-of-sacred-heart-of-jesus.html?m=1

Seekfirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

The Feast of the Simple One: St Therese of the Child Jesus.

"Blessed are you, Father,
Lord of heaven and earth,
for revealing the mysteries of the kingdom to mere children." (Matthew 11: 25).

Thursday 1st October 2020, 26th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of the Little Flower, St Therese of the Child Jesus, also known as St Therese of Lisieux. (1873 - 1897). French. Carmelite Nun and Doctor of the Church.

St Therese is one of the most beloved saints in the Church. She is a powerful intercessor and her contribution to the history of spirituality can be summarized thus:

#1 Utter simplicity in everything.
#2 Profound trust in Divine Providence.

St Therese you may say was chosen to be St Therese before she was born. At the age of 6, she had a profound faith in the Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and in the Blessed Sacrament. Asked one day how she was so sure of this, her response was disarming and profound: Jesus said: "This is My Body. This is My Blood." Since Jesus is God and Almighty, nothing is impossible for Him. Does this not remind us of the Blessed Virgin Mary? To the word that She would conceive by the power of the Holy Spirit and give birth to the Son of God, she replied: "Be it done to me according to Your word."

There is a direct connection between faith and simplicity. The more complicated you are in your mind, habits and behavior, the more difficult it is to believe.
"Unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven." (Matthew 18: 3).

Be simple like Jesus and Therese. Dare to Believe.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Feast of St St Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church.

"Blessed indeed is he who ponders the law of the Lord day and night:
he will yield his fruit in due season." (Cf Psalm 1: 1 - 2. Entrance Antiphon on the Feast of St Jerome).

Wednesday 30th September 2020, 26th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Jerome (342 - 420). From Dalmatia in former Yugoslavia. Priest, Doctor of the Church. Translated the Bible into the Latin Vulgate. "Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ" is his famous saying.

We chose our key Scripture for today from the great promise of God to those who love His word and study it season and out of season. Note that a similar promise is made to Joshua:
"Do not let this book of the law depart from your lips. Recite it by day and by night, that you may carefully observe all that is written in it; then you will attain your goal; then you will succeed." (Joshua 1: 8).

If you are still not excited by the promises of investing in the word of God, consider this:
"When I found your words, I devoured them; your words were my joy, the happiness of my heart,
Because I bear your name, Lord, God of hosts." (Jeremiah 15: 16).
When Jeremiah devoured the word of God, what did he find? Incomparable happiness and joy.

I too discovered the word of God in a career crisis while working for a large multinational company in Paris. The word that was waiting for me to discover was Exodus 14: 13 - 14. I was blown away by God's utter faithfulness to His gracious promise. I resolved to read the Scriptures everyday from that day. It has been over 35 years and God is still blessing me through His word.

Lord, help us to follow the example of St Jerome in reflecting on Your word day and night. May Your word prepare us to offer You a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving always and everywhere. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, September 28, 2020

The Feast of the Archangels: Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.

“Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see the sky opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” (John 1: 51).

Tuesday 29th September 2020, 26th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. Jesus' encounter with Nathanael (Bartholomew) in the Gospel of today confirms the existence of angels, a fact known in the Hebrew Scriptures.

Here is the meaning of the names of the Archangels:

Micha-El: Who is like God?
Gabri-El: God’s strength” or “Power of God”
Rapha-El: “God heals”
El means God.

By the ministry of the angels, our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving come before the presence of Almighty God. The Archangel Michael is assigned to guard the Church. ( Cf Daniel 12: 1). Pope Leo XIII who had a vision of this in the Sanctuary composed the Prayer to St Michael which became an inspired and principal prayer in spiritual warfare. Many Catholics say this prayer daily.
Click the link below to print a copy for yourself.

http://seekfirstcommunity.com/?m=1

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com 

St Michael the Archangel Prayer

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil; May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; And do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls.

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Who is the greatest amongst us?

"An argument arose among the disciples about which of them was the greatest." (Luke 9: 46).

Monday 28th September 2020, 26th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of two martyrs:  St Wenceslaus (907 - 927). King and Martyr. Saintly monarch. Murdered by his own brother in a sibling rivalry that reminds us of Cain and Abel. St Lorenzo Ruiz (+1630). Filipino layman and his companions. Martyred in Japan with other Christian missionaries.

Who is the greatest among us? The Apostles were caught asking this question. You recognize this sin as the spirit of rivalry condemned as one of the works of the flesh by St Paul in a letter to the Galatian Christians:
"Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like." (Galatians 5: 19 - 21).

Jesus praised St John the Baptist as the greatest person born of a woman in the Kingdom of God. You may rank St Wenceslaus and St Lorenzo and companions whom we honor today as great in the Kingdom of God. They heard the word of Jesus Christ and believed Him and laid down their lives for Him. All the Apostles whom Jesus reproached in our Gospel of today repented and went on to lay down their lives for Jesus and became great in the Kingdom of God. They give many of us hope. The game is not over.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Who enters the Kingdom of God first and who enters last?

“Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you. When John came to you in the way of righteousness, you did not believe him; but tax collectors and prostitutes did. Yet even when you saw that, you did not later change your minds and believe him." (Matthew 21: 31 - 32).

Sunday 27th September 2020, 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Who enters the Kingdom of God first and why? Let us look at the list of the invited: High priests, priests, Pharisees, scribes, scholars, judges,  tax collectors, prostitutes, brigands, and all the other deplorables.
Jesus, the Chief Executive Officer of the Kingdom tells us that the "tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you." This is an incredible reversal of perking order. But why? Because John the Baptist came and preached righteousness and mercy and the great ones rejected him. The tax collectors and prostitutes heard him and embraced his message. The chief priests and elders and their friends saw what was happening and refused to change their minds. So they merited the condemnation of Christ for the hardness of heart and pride.

God who shows His almighty power in His mercy and forgiveness will welcome the chief priests, elders and Pharisees if they change their minds and accept His mercy. Mercy and forgiveness are constant in salvation history.
Ask for mercy.
Be merciful.
Completely trust Jesus for mercy.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, September 25, 2020

The Feast of St Cosmas and Damian, Martyrs, Twins and Great Physicians.

“Pay attention to what I am telling you. The Son of Man is to be handed over to men.” (Luke 9: 44).

Saturday 26th September 2020, 25th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of two great physicians, twins Cosmas and Damian martyred under Emperor Diocletian +305. Cosmas and Damian combined a supernatural gift of healing with sound medical training and practice. What is extraordinary about these two doctors is that they offered their services completely free of charge. Because they did so, it pleased Christ, the Divine Physician to work through them. He crowned their life with a martyr's crown and raised them to eternal glory.

Listen to our key Scripture for today: “Pay attention to what I am telling you. The Son of Man is to be handed over to men.” If an important person tells me: "Pay attention to this fact." I will sit upright, lean forward and listen intently. When God said to Joshua: "You must have these words constantly on your mind," Joshua recognized immediately that God was giving him a formula for success and Joshua paid great attention and succeeded greatly in his work. The disciples of Jesus did not pay attention to what Jesus told them here and it caused a huge problem for them. Frustrations and denials.

Now Jesus is telling us to pay great attention to this truth and never to forget: "The Son of Man is to be handed over to men.” In other words, we must understand thoroughly the significance of the Paschal Mystery, that is the mystery of the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Our life, peace and success depends on it. God chose the Cross as the means of our salvation.

You shall know the truth and the truth you know shall set you free. Set you free from what? Sin, addiction, fear, worry, doubt, sickness, ignorance and poverty? You think really? It is the promise of Jesus Christ that the supernatural truth you know can set you free. Cosmas and Damian witnessed this a lot in their practice and today every honest medical doctor can attest to this truth.

“Pay attention to what I am telling you. The Son of Man is to be handed over to men.”

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Thursday, September 24, 2020

In the fullness of time, I make everything beautiful.

"There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens...... God has made everything appropriate to its time" (Ecclesiastes 3: 1, 11).

Friday 25th September 2020, 25th Week in Ordinary Time.

My brethren, Victor Hugo said: "Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come." I hope the power and wisdom in our key Scripture for today will be for you life changing. Let us unpack the Gift.

Everything that happens in life happens at its appointed time. Therefore no chance, no accidents, no coincidence. Period. (Ecclesiastes 3: 1).
Are you waiting for God for the fulfillment of any promise? It will happen only when the set time for it has reached. Whether it is one month, one year or ten years.

Now the sweet news: At the appointed time (fullness of time), God makes everything beautiful. (Ecclesiastes 3: 11).

Do you now understand that our God and Father is not capricious. He is a faithful and merciful God. A God of purpose who is in control of His entire creation.

What is our response to this revelation? Trust. Wait for God. See!
Those who trust in God and wait for the Lord will see His miracles. As for me, I wish to live as I believe. I believe that God is everywhere, all-powerful, all good, kind, merciful, gentle, generous and all loving. I wish to live every moment aware of God's presence surrounded by His love and all His attributes.

"In the fullness of time, I make everything beautiful."

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com